Matija Nastasic could hand City’s injury-hit defence a huge boost on Sunday.
The Serbian centre-half picked up a knock in pre-season and missed the 4-0 mauling of Newcastle, but with skipper Vincent Kompany likely to be out for at least a month and Micah Richards still unavailable, the news Nastasic may be available for the trip to Cardiff could not have been better timed.
“It is a blow to lose our captain so early in the season but there is nothing we can do about it,” said Manuel Pellegrini.
“He is a very important player for us and our captain but we are hopeful Matija Nastasic could be available for Cardiff. It is too early to say but we will see.
“Micah Richards is also improving and he could be available for next weekend, but again, we will wait and see how he progresses. I’m aware of course that Micah can also play in central defence so we have options while Vincent is recovering.”
Pellegrini admitted he was pleased with the opening day victory over Newcastle and when asked whether his team would try and play with the same intensity and entertaining style in every game this season, he replied, “We will try! We have a very difficult game on Sunday because Cardiff are playing their first home Premier League game.
“We will not underestimate them because they are new to the division. They will be very tough opponents on their own pitch. We know we have to play at our best to take three points but we will be focused and prepared for the challenge.”
With Denis Suarez and Scott Sinclair both leaving the Blues yesterday – the latter on a season-long loan to West Brom - Pellegrini also said he didn’t think there would be any more departures before the transfer window, adding: “I’m not certain but I doubt there will be any more players leaving. It was very important for Scott to play regular first-team football and Denis wanted to play more but it was always going to be difficult here so this was the best option for them.”
The City boss expects to have Sergio Aguero available for Cardiff but says Stevan Jovetic is not yet fully fit.